- Last updated:
- 21 May 2019
Council regularly receives the following inquiries about Flying foxes.
Are Flying foxes native to Australia?
There are four species of Flying fox native to mainland Australia. Three of those four species, the Little Red Flying fox, the Black Flying fox and the Grey-headed Flying fox occur in South East Queensland. The Grey-headed Flying fox is Australia’s only endemic flying fox and is listed as Vulnerable to extinction under the EPBC Act.
Why are Flying foxes a protected species?
Flying foxes play an important role in maintaining Australian native forest ecosystems. As Australia’s only known long distance pollinator, Flying foxes are critical for the continued existence of many Australian eucalypt species that can only be pollinated at night. Flying foxes fly out from their roost sites at sunset and move around the region at night searching for food. They return to a central roost just before sunrise and rest there throughout the day. So if you see or hear Flying foxes in trees near your home at night, it's more than likely they are only there temporarily to feed.
There are Flying foxes in trees nearby our house at night. Does this mean there is a roost establishing near my home?
Flying foxes are nocturnal animals that fly out from their roost sites at sunset and move around the region at night searching for food. They return to a central roost just before sunrise and rest there throughout the day. So if you see or hear Flying foxes in trees near your home at night, it's more than likely they’re only there temporarily to feed.
Are Flying fox numbers increasing?
No. Flying fox numbers have declined in the last century due to widespread clearing of native foraging and roosting habitat for agriculture and urban development, and culling practices across their range. These losses have accumulated to approximately two-thirds of south east Queensland’s native vegetation, with an almost 90% reduction of Melaleuca quinquenervia forests, which are a chief source of winter food for nectar-feeding Flying foxes.
Two Flying fox species - the Grey-headed and Spectacled Flying foxes - are federally listed as Vulnerable to extinction under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The reduction in habitat has forced Flying foxes to find other habitats, including patches of bushland in urban areas. Their choice of urban roosting sites may be linked to historic connections with the site prior to development and is also influenced by available of water and food within the urban landscape and backyard plantings.
This has led to increased contact and conflict with humans. Where large roosts occur close to residential areas, the potential for conflict increases as the noise and odour associated with their daily interactions may disrupt the lifestyle of nearby residents.
Council routinely monitors seven urban roost sites - the results are shown on the Interactive BatMap.
Does council have a plan to manage Flying foxes?
Yes, our Regional Flying Fox Management Plan is available on this website. The plan is approved by the state government as a regional Flying fox management plan, and the Australian Government as a conservation agreement for Grey-headed Flying foxes.
What do I do if I find an injured Flying fox?
Call RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (264 625)